The Belgian government has appointed a new transport minister in a reshuffle sparked by allegations of lax security at Brussels airport, one of two targets hit by suicide bombers last month.
The new minister is Francois Bellot, 62, who replaces Jacqueline Galant, whose resignation on Friday made her the first political casualty of the attacks.
Bellot will meet King Philippe today to take his oath of office, the Belgian royal palace said in a statement.
Galant quit in a blaze of anger, blaming “well-orchestrated theatrics” and a “media crusade” by political enemies for forcing her out.
The media had reported that the European Union (EU) repeatedly warned of security flaws at Zaventem airport.
A top ministerial official also quit, accusing her of incompetence and “Gestapo-like” behaviour.
Bellot, like Galant, is a francophone liberal – one of the many streams in Belgian politics, whose landscape is fractured along linguistic as well as political lines.
The country has had a string of ministers over the past half dozen years.
The present coalition government took office in October 2014 after nearly five months of haggling following elections.
A low-profile lawmaker in the national parliament and mayor of the town of Rochefort, in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, Bellot is a civil engineer by training and specialist in railway transport, according to his Reform Movement party.
In a first response to his appointment, Bellot promised to restore “serenity, calm and trust,” with the top priority of bringing operations at Zaventem back to normal.
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